Africa Population

Africa – peoples

Africa is populated by nearly 3,000 ethnic groups or peoples. The vast majority of these have been politically independent entities, but each group has its own cultural characteristics. Historically, Africa’s ethnic composition has undergone major changes. Peoples have merged and split up, expanded and wiped out, and some ethnic groups have emerged during the 20th century as a result of the administrative measures of the European colonial powers. The colonial division of Africa also meant that many ethnic groups were divided between two or more colonial empires that became nation-states during the 20th century.

The traditional political structure of ethnic groups has varied from stateless societies that exercised political authority only at the local level, to hierarchically built kingdoms. With few exceptions, these structures have either been dismantled, modified, or lost their former significance in the colonial centuries or in the time thereafter. However, the indigenous ethnic power elites still have significant political influence in many African countries today, and the traditional rulers often play an important ritual and symbolic role.

In stateless societies as well as in kingdoms, patrilineal or matrilineal descent (ie inherited from male and female line, respectively) was a fundamental organizational principle. Even in the 1990’s, this is the case in so many places in the country. Often, several generations live under the same roof, where an older man is the head of an extended family. In the cities, the kinship-based organization has often crumbled, and the extended families here have been increasingly replaced by nuclear families. There is also a tendency for the family structure to collapse when young men move to the cities to find work, leaving women, children and older men in the countryside.

According to Countryaah, North Africa is populated primarily by Arabs and Berbers, who both speak Afro-Asiatic languages. However, the Berbers have often been assimilated with the Arabs, who since the 600’s may have come to North Africa in several waves. Farming, in many places with irrigation, traditionally dominates in the coastal areas, while cattle breeding is the dominant occupation in the arid areas.

West Africa is characterized by a cultural and linguistic diversity. Most of the peoples in the savannah area live on agriculture, but there are also cattle breeders who live as nomads. Trade plays an important role; pre-colonial cities such as Timbuktu, Gao and Agadèz were originally trading cities, and the empires that dominated the savannah area before the 18th century – Ghana, Mali, Songhay, Kanem and Bornu – became rich and powerful in long-distance trade.

In the rainforest area along the Atlantic coast, agriculture is dominant. Many of the peoples of the area have traditionally organized themselves into states. The strongest pre-colonial states, like the great empires of the savannah, were based on long-distance trade, and several of them became dependent on the transatlantic slave trade.

In Central Africa, most ethnic groups speak Bantu languages, and they are thought to have originated in Cameroon, from where they spread east and south for approximately 2000 years ago. Farming is the dominant occupation in Central Africa, but small groups of pygmies in Gabon, Congo (Brazzaville) and the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo live mainly as hunters and gatherers. Many of the ethnic groups were traditionally monarchically organized; in pre-colonial times, there were several powerful kingdoms such as the Congo, Luba and Lund kingdoms. The kingdom peaked in the 16th and 17th centuries, but participation in the transatlantic slave trade led to the collapse of the political organization.

East Africa is populated by several cattle-breeding ethnic groups who speak Nilosahari or Afro-Asiatic languages. Afro-Asian languages ​​are also spoken by some agricultural groups in Ethiopia such as amhara, which has dominated the Ethiopian state since its founding approximately 1270. But East Africa is above all populated by Bantu-speaking ethnic groups with agriculture as the main source of business. Many of these peoples, such as Baganda in Uganda, were previously significant kingdoms. Rwanda and Burundi have also been hierarchically structured monarchies, ruled by a minority of Tutsis. Along the coast, there have been Arab settlements since the ninth century; the peoples here are influenced by Arabic culture and speeches Swahili. Especially on Zanzibar, the Arab influence is strong, and between 1840 and 1964 the island was ruled by an Arab dynasty that originated in Oman.

South Africa was originally populated by san, who were hunters and gatherers, and by khoikhoi, who were cattle breeders. San was eventually pushed into the desert-like areas of Namibia and Botswana by the immigrant Bantu people, and most khoikhoi have in recent generations been part of a mixed population, which is also influenced by Bantu people, Europeans and Asians. With the exception of the herero in Namibia, which have traditionally been cattle breeders, the main occupation of the South African Bantu people is agriculture or a mixture of farming and cattle breeding. European settlers (Africans) settled in the southernmost parts of South Africa from the 17th century, and the conflicts that then arose between them and the local population and between the local ethnic groups among themselves led, among other things, to the zulu in the early 1800’s a strong kingdom in Natal. In other parts of South Africa, strong states existed long before the arrival of Europeans; most famous is the kingdom which the Portuguese called Monomotapa. Monomotapa conquered large parts of the present-day states of Zimbabwe and Mozambique in the 15th century, but was defeated by the Portuguese in the 17th century.

Madagascar was probably not inhabited until the 400’s-500’s by immigrants from Indonesia. These later mingled with other peoples, most of whom were of African descent. Rice is grown by all ethnic groups on the island, but cattle breeding also plays an important role, both economically and ritually. The politically dominant group is the merina, which lives on the plateau. Both the merina and the other ethnic groups in Madagascar were politically monarchically organized; the merina kings conquered most of the island in the 19th century.

Namibia’s foreign policy

Namibia’s foreign policy has been dominated by relations with its neighbor in the south, South Africa. But also the neighboring countries organized in the regional association The Cooperation Organization for Southern Africa, SADC has been important. In recent years, relations with China and North Korea have become more important to Namibia.

Strong neighbors

Relations with South Africa has been dominant in Namibia’s foreign policy, and was sometimes problematic prior to the change of power in South Africa in 1994. The South African apartheid -state held by Namibia’s independence back Walvis Bay -enklaven and Penguin Islands – despite Namibian and international protests. As the country’s only deep-water port, Walvis Bay is of particular importance to Namibia, and in 1993 the South African government agreed to transfer the area and islands to Namibia; The transfer took place on March 1, 1994. A territorial discrepancy with South Africa has also been linked to the Orange River, which in the south forms the border between the two countries. Following the democratization in South Africa, the political ties between the two countries have been strengthened.

The historically good relationship between SWAPO and the MPLA government in Angola has led to good relations with neighboring countries in the north. In 1994–1995, a conflict with Botswana over the border crossing of the Chobeel River occurred, and the case was transferred to the International Court of Justice in 1995. This was approved by Botswana in 1999, which both countries accepted, and a final border demarcation between the two countries was begun by a joint commission. Other unclear boundaries along the Chobe, Kwando and Linyati rivers were clarified in 2003. In 1996, Botswana expressed great concern over Namibian plans to bring Okavango water down to the capital Windhoek through a pipeline. Lack of water is a major problem for Namibia.

In 1998, Namibia became militarily involved in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, together with Angola and Zimbabwe – under the auspices of the Regional Cooperation Organization Southern Africa (SADC), of which Namibia joined on its independence. About 2,000 Namibian soldiers were sent to Congo to fight on President Laurent Kabila’s side in the civil war. Namibia was also drawn into the civil war in Angola, giving Angolan government forces the opportunity to operate from the Namibian side of the border in fighting against the UNITA rebel movement. As a result, in 1999-2000 UNITA targeted targets in Northern Namibia, including rockets.

Other connections

Following the death of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi in 2002, and subsequent peace in Angola, the situation in northeast Namibia became calmer, with increased cross-border trade. Namibia participated with soldiers of the UN Liberal Force (UNMIL) from 2003. Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Namibia in 2007, signing agreements on aid and economic cooperation. Namibia has had some contact with North Korea, and in 2017 was accused by the UN panel of experts in North Korea of ​​breaking sanctions against the Asian country. Namibia has rejected the charges.

From the days of the liberation struggle, SWAPO had a close relationship with both the Eastern European and Scandinavian countries, and all the Nordic countries have supported Namibia with development assistance; In 1990, Norway made Namibia one of its priority cooperation countries for aid, but aid has since been reduced. Namibia continues to receive Norwegian assistance, but development cooperation has assumed new forms, where direct government assistance is channeled to an even greater extent through Norwegian organizations and institutions. The cooperation has been concentrated on the two main sectors fisheries and energy.

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